French new geographical indications for furniture and espadrilles

Published onJuly 2016

After the Savon de Marseille (a vegetal oil-based soap) (1) for which 2 competing submissions are still being discussed, the “Siège de Liffol” (the Liffol’s Seat) and the “Espadrille de Mauléon – Mauleko espartina” (Mauleon’s Espadrille, a kind of sneakers) have been filed as geographical indication protecting industrial and artisanal products (2).

The Lorraine wood furniture cluster, located in Liffol-le-Grand representing artisanal manufactures of the Great East seats (Haute-Marne, Meuse and Vosges), will be the management and defence organization of the GI “Siège de Liffol”. According to the specification note, only the production will be local, using manufacturing methods entirely crafted. Raw materials including timber may have another origin.

In the same way, the geographical area of the Mauleon’s espadrille would be the province of Soule (Northern Basque Country province) where are historically implanted espadrille manufacturing workshops, respecting the traditional know-how, namely methods and manufacturing steps described in the specification. Manufacturing may be artisanal or industrial and there is no requirement on the geographical origin of the raw materials used.

Let us remind that must be considered a geographical indication the name of a geographical area or of a specific place which serves to designate a product, other than agricultural, forester, alimentary or from the sea, which is native from such area and has a specific quality, reputation or other characteristics that are essentially attributable to this geographical origin.

On reading these specifications, the economical benefit of those GIs, if granted, can be seen. Aside from the respect for traditional know-how and reputation of quality, they could help save local employment, which seems to be the most important link with the geographical area.


(1) See our articles about the Savon de Marseille: Why is the Savon de Marseille or Marseille soap not always made in Marseille? and French new geographical indications and EU trademarks

(2) See our article about IGPIA New geographical indications and protection of the names of regional authorities